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Slavery in California

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by major bill, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    There was some agitation for slavery in California before California became a state, but in the end California came in as a free state. This helped upset the balance of power in the US Senate. In 1851 James Gladsden of South Carolina tried to get the California legislature to allow slavery in the southern part of California in hopes the state could be divided in to two states, one free and one slave. this would have helped to retain a balance of free and slave states in the US Senate. The suggestion was not seriously considered in California. If California had became two states with slavery in South California would have this helped the US avoid a war? One could assume that the area between Texas and South California would have been open to slavery. There was also some hope that slavery would become legal in Oregon and perhaps the state of Washington. If slavery was legal in South California, Oregon and Washington, it would seem like the slave owners would have had room to extend slavery and this could have cooled some to the tension between to North and South.
     

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  3. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    Assuming Southern California was split from California what would one do with the slaves? What crop could be grown in Southern California that would support slaves? Yes their was some mining but not much. Yes Mexico did have slavery but in the wetter Yachatan (sp?)Peninsula prior to Mexican independence when slavery was outlawed a good 40 years before the U.S.
    California's irrigation system wasn't built until decades after the Civil War.
    Prior to the railroads how would crops economically be shiped back east? Their was no Panama canal. Any crop would have to survive a long hot journy via Nicaragua.
    Leftyhunter
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
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  4. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    Same question about Oregon and Washington. Even if slavery is legal now what? How is slavery going to economically feasible? Maybe that is why the slave owners were hot to trot on Cuba and Central America.
    Leftyhunter
     
  5. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    I used California because the was some push it split California in to two states with slavery in the southern state. I asked about Oregon because they insisted on deciding the slavery issue and not be dictated to by the federal government. It is true that the supporters of slavery would have had their work cut out for them in both states.
     
  6. huskerblitz

    huskerblitz Captain Forum Host

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    I think you are understating the issue. Early on, slave owners were using slave names as a way to get an extra land claim or two. They would also use them to work the mines and streams which irritated non-slave holders who could not get extra claims or work as much area.

    This book may be of assistance.
    51S4mdrZxrL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
    https://www.amazon.com/California-Coming-Civil-Vintage-Library/dp/0307277577
     
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  7. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    Even if California was wide open to slavery how many slaves could of been profitably employed in California?
    Leftyhunter
     
  8. huskerblitz

    huskerblitz Captain Forum Host

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    San Joaquin Valley? Timber industry? Mining?
     
  9. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    The San Joaquin had no reliable water source other then flooding from the Kern River when it flooded. It would be many decades before the feds would build a comprehensive irritation system.
    Timber is very problematic in the antebellum era. It would have to be carried by ship via Nicaragua. A very expensive proposition. Mining for gold maybe a few but once the vein is exhausted now what?
    Leftyhunter
     
  10. huskerblitz

    huskerblitz Captain Forum Host

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    Shrug. Didn't seem to stop people from bringing slaves into California, did it?
     
  11. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    For how long?
    Leftyhunter
     
  12. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Jefferson Davis was planning, during his stint in the federal government, to run a railroad basically from Savannah to Los Angeles. He was expanding the highway system as well - all looking to fix that problem of how to get what was on the west coast to the east coast without rounding the Horn. Slavery wasn't much use, really, except for the extensive agricultural production in the South - and besides, the Chinese were cheaper yet. You didn't have to feed and clothe them!

    The sympathy for secession in California was mainly in the mining camps and among Californio separatists, who wanted to go back with Mexico - not be part of the Confederacy. After independence from Spain, Mexico had other fish to fry and neglected Alta California, which enabled American squatters to funnel in. When the Mexicans threatened to evict them, they did the Bear Republic Revolt. Which was a lot of nerve...they didn't live there, it wasn't their land and it wasn't their government! Well, Mexico had outlawed slavery when it became independent, so even if the Californios got their way later, there would not have been slavery in southern California anyway.
     
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  13. huskerblitz

    huskerblitz Captain Forum Host

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    My guess until Dec. 6, 1865.
     
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  14. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    I had that conversation with our local historian/archeologist guru (Jeff Lalande) and he said pretty much what diane said: slaves could have been used in mining and road building but there wasn't enough money to bring them out for that really. Logging was still small scale and localized at the time so that wouldn't have been a motivation. Of course, anywhere that something labor intensive was needed a few slaves would have been useful to their owners so small numbers could certainly have been brought out and put to work even on homesteads. I don't think there was ever any support for the Confederacy or slavery in Washington but in Oregon there was in the southwestern corner of the state (where Joe Lane was from; Breckenridge's VP candidate). Lincoln lost those counties in both elections and the Oregon constitution prohibited free blacks from becoming citizens.

    So, no, big-time plantation-type slavery just wasn't ever going to work out west and certainly not in California or Oregon and I don't think there were enough pro-slavery voters in CA or OR to make either state a slave state even if there were pockets of those amenable to such.
     
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  15. huskerblitz

    huskerblitz Captain Forum Host

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    Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting large-scale slavery in California but the notion that there was nothing for slaves to do. Obviously there were enough slaves and slave holders in the area to make it a concern.
     
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  16. uaskme

    uaskme Sergeant

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    By 1860 there were 4086 Blacks which 2062 were mulattoes. 34935 Chinese. 50000 Latin Americans. Most Western States chose Black Exclusion instead of Slavery. Most emigrated from the Upper MS Valley and their Racial Attitudes were in the Waggon. CA didn't adopt exclusion. Half of their Black population, the mulatoes were similar colored to the Hispanics.

    Undoubtedly the most flagrant violation of Negro Rights occurred in 1857 when James Estell, the state prison director, sent Negro inmates from the state prison to New Orleans where they were sold into Slavery. The Frontier Against Slavery by Berwanger pp75
     
  17. TerryB

    TerryB Major

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    The Tom Hanks Science Fiction Movie, "Cloud Atlas," makes a major gaff, in my opinion, by showing slavery some where on the West Coast--California?--in the prewar years.
     
  18. Gene Green

    Gene Green Corporal

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    i find this all very interesting. although cal was admitted in whole as a free state, what is suggested here is just about what happened in the new lands ceded by mexico. the northern half was organized into the utah territory and the southern half into new mexico (which included az. ). on the same day that cal was admitted as a state (?) . they had popular sovereignty . so the south had the possibility of the advantage in representation with the addition of these territories if they entered as slave. new mexico terr. including arizona never had more than a dozen [black] slaves yet it was the primary issue with the seven states seceeding. it is generally acknowledged that there was no need for slavery on a large scale in agriculture in these areas so is this the reason for their importance ? also the south showed little interest in utah , which allowed slavery i think, why ?, but much interest in cal then especially in new mexico . during new mexico's territory period it's slave status was clouded. why ? accept my apologies if this is off topic but it seems all tied together.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  19. uaskme

    uaskme Sergeant

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    Most of that Territory wasn't suited to Slavery. CA chose to be Free so that ended the debate of 36/30. Southern CA was thought to be able to support Slavery.
    Slave States did argue all Territory below 36/30 should be Slave. Republicans vowed No Compromise.

    The 50s Compromise let Utah and NM choose to be Free or Slave. Utah was above 36/30, so it called into question Kansas/Nebraska. Why should they not be allowed to choose? That was the Blow Up of the MO Compromise of 1820.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017

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